Omega-3 Oils Role in Alzheimer’s Prevention

Early Sunday morning I was trying to get caught up on the research that has been piling up. I read something that shows great potential to improve your health without any harm. These research papers started to appear in the journals around 2012 until the present. The latest papers help tie it all together into something that you can do today. I will summarize what researchers are figuring out and what this means to you and your family.

It has been repeatedly said that it takes 20 to 25 years for new research to be accepted, proven and incorporated into mainstream medicine. I have always maintained the belief, if it is nutrition, safe, and causes no harm then why wait the 25 years?

The body has a lymphatic system that carries away metabolic waste and toxins from our body tissues. There is no such lymphatic system in the brain which has prompted a lot of research trying to figure out how the brain cleans and detoxes itself. Why is this being studied so much? Because researcher were figuring out that waste build in the brain was a contributing factor in neurodegenerative disease such as, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis ( Lou Gehrig’s), Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease and Huntington’s disease. All are characterized by progressive loss of neurons (brain cells), cognitive decline, motor impairments, and sensory loss.

In 2012 a paper was published by a group of researchers from the University of Rochester headed by M. Nedergaard. It is far too technical to cover here, but they used two-photon imaging to show waste clearance taking place in the brain. It was later verified in 2013 by other researchers. There are specialized cells in the brain that are heavily involved in this process called Glial cells. Glial cells in the brain perform similar functions as the macrophages in the body. They have termed this newly uncovered systems the “Glymphatic system”.

A study published this past January reported that Omega-3 essential fatty acid improved the function of the glymphatic system increase the brain’s ability to clear waste. Specifically the beta-amyloid plaque buildup associated with Alzheimer’s disease. Beta-amyloid is waste produced by normal brain function during the day. In health people this waste is removed by the glymphatic system mostly at night during periods of deep sleep. This helps explain the brain fog associated with lack of sleep and again stresses the importance of good quality sleep.

Keep in mind there are other factors involved with Alzheimer’s such as oxidative damage, inflammation, and glaciation of the amyloid protein caused by excessive sugar consumption, insulin resistance and diabetes. Glaciation of the amyloid protein makes them very sticky clumping together and rendering this complex difficult to clear. What I am saying is this should be part of your prevention protocol and should not be interpreted as a treatment or cure. By the time Alzheimer’s symptoms are recognizable by family member neurodegeneration (cell death) is well underway.

But this explains the anecdotal evidence that omega-3 oils are beneficial for Bipolar disorder, ADD, ADHD, depression and memory loss. There is mounting evidence that omega-3 is beneficial for traumatic brain injuries including concussions.

I believe foods are alway 1st choice for nutrition rather than supplementation. With food you are consuming other beneficial elements, were as  with supplements you only receive the one. Supplements do help us reach our goals when we haven’t been eating the way we should. Here is a list of foods containing omega-3 fatty acids. Mackerel, Salmon, Cod Liver Oil, Walnuts, Chia Seeds, Herring, Flaxseed, Tuna, White Fish, Sardines, Hemp Seeds, Anchovies, Natto, and Egg Yolks. Try to incorporate as many of these foods in your diet as possible.

Yours in health,
Dr. Eckert